Add oats to any meal

A typical pantry contains a host of staples, including oatmeal. Oats long have been portrayed as simple comfort food that can feed a crowd for less. But there’s nothing simple about the recipes that can be created when oats are in the mix.

Oats are packed with nutrition, and even in their various forms sold at the store, such as rolled or steel cut, they are minimally processed and almost always in whole grain form. Oats are notable for their ability to lower bad cholesterol and control blood pressure. They contain beta-glucan, which is a soluble fiber not found in most other grains. It has been shown to suppress appetite and help promote gut health. In addition, oats have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties, which explains why oatmeal baths are popular for various skin conditions.

But oats are perhaps best utilized in the kitchen, as this assortment of uses for oatmeal in favorite dishes can attest.

Oat flour power: Replace wheat flour with oat flour to deliver feelings of fullness with fewer calories. Ground oats or oat flour also can be used to thicken soups, stews and dips.

Meatloaf magic: When making meatloaf or meatballs, use oats as an alternative to bread crumbs for binding ground meats.

Oatmeal latte: By cooking oatmeal with milk, thinning out the finished product with more milk, and adding sugar and spices, anyone can whip up a tasty beverage that seems tailor-made for the coffee house.

Overnight oats: Oats, when combined with low-fat yogurt, fruit or other add-ins, and left overnight to meld, produce a thick and filling breakfast food that is the best mix of oatmeal and smoothie.

Oat-corn casserole: Oats can be mixed with cream-style corn, butter and milk to form the base of a side dish casserole. Grated cheddar or pepper jack makes this an ooey-gooey comfort dish.

To start your oatmeal recipe journey, try this recipe for “Cardamom and Orange Overnight Oats,” courtesy of Oldways Whole Grains Council.

Cardamom and Orange Overnight Oats

Serves 2

• ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

• 1 cup rolled oats

• 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk fortified with vitamin B-12

• 2 tablespoons chia seeds

• 1 tablespoon maple syrup

• 1 teaspoon orange zest

• ¼ teaspoon cardamom

• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds for garnish

• Orange slices for garnish

1. In a mason jar, mix yogurt, oats, milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, orange zest, cardamom, and cinnamon. Place the lid on the mason jar and shake.

2. Leave in the fridge overnight.

3. Top with pumpkin seeds and orange slices or other fruit.


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